2017 Syracuse football season preview

2016 season: 4-8, 2-6 in the ACC (T-6th in the Atlantic Division)

Head coach: Dino Babers (2nd season)

Ever since the departure of former head coach Doug Marrone in January 2013, it has been all downhill football-wise in upstate New York. Although the Orange won seven games and knocked off Minnesota in the 2013 Texas Bowl, they have posted just an 18-31 mark in the last four seasons and finished 2016 tied with Duke for the second-worst overall record of any team in the ACC. 

Fortunately, Syracuse and head coach Dino Babers will be able to lean on returning starting quarterback Eric Dungey, who averaged the second-most passing yards per game in the conference behind only Clemson's Deshaun Watson last season. But Dungey dealt with some concussion issues during preseason camp, and whether he can still be efficient under center—he ranked eighth in passing efficiency last year among ACC quarterbacks—remains to be seen.

Offense was not too much of a problem for the Orange last year, though. Where their major issues lie are on the defensive side of things. Syracuse ranked dead last in the conference in total and scoring defense, second-to-last in both rush and pass defense and third-to-last in turnovers forced. And in last year's season finale, the Orange fell to Pittsburgh by a record-setting score of 76-61.

So does the defense improve this time around? More than likely, yes, but Syracuse is still inexperienced in the back with a pair of sophomores and a redshirt sophomore filling three of the four spots in the secondary. Also look for the Orange linebacking corps of seniors Parris Bennett, Zaire Franklin and Jonathan Thomas to solidify some of last season's defensive woes.

Mitchell Gladstone | Sports Managing Editor

Twitter: @mpgladstone13

A junior from just outside Philadelphia, Mitchell is probably reminding you how the Eagles won the Super Bowl this year and that the Phillies are definitely on the rebound. Outside of The Chronicle, he majors in Economics, minors in Statistics and is working toward the PJMS certificate, in addition to playing trombone in the Duke University Marching Band. And if you're getting him a sandwich with beef and cheese outside the state of Pennsylvania, you best not call it a "Philly cheesesteak." 


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